Florida Employment Laws for Small Business

Wondering what the minimum wage laws are in Florida? Are you required to give your employees breaks? What regulations do you need to follow when firing them?

When you understand about local laws, you’ll be able to better protect yourself from the risk of lawsuits and penalties. If you’re a small business owner in Florida, here are the important employment laws to be aware of that affect your business.

Minimum Wage Laws

In January of 2020, minimum wage in Florida was increased to $8.56 per hour – which is greater than the Federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.

You may not pay less than $8.56 per hour, unless the employee has a profession exempt from the minimum wage under state or federal law. Those exemptions include student workers and tipped employees.

The current minimum for tipped employees is $5.54 per hour. As the employer, you must ensure that all tipped employees receive at least the minimum wage when combined with tips.

In addition, every Florida employer must display an approved Florida minimum wage poster to inform employees about minimum wage and their rights under Florida Labor Law.


Florida’s overtime rules follow the Fair Labor Standards Act – known as the FLSA. According to the FLSA, employees in Florida must be paid at least minimum wage for their regular work hours and must receive overtime pay when their total weekly hours are more than 40. Overtime is calculated by taking the regular pay rate and multiplying it by 1.5.

Also, when it comes to which employees are eligible for minimum wage there are some guidelines. For example, salaried employees that earn more the $455/week and work in a professional, executive or computer-related occupations may be exempt from overtime.

It’s worth taking the time to check the regulations carefully and make sure your employees are correctly categorized when it comes to figuring out which employees are eligible for overtime.

Rest and Lunch Breaks

Is it required by law to give your employees meal and rest breaks?

Florida state laws pertaining to rest and meal breaks only concern employees under the age of 18. Employees 17 and under are required to have at least 30 minutes of complete rest for every 4 hours of continuous work.

For employees 18 and older, there are no federal or state laws in place that require and employer to give a lunch or rest break. Technically you don’t have to give your employees any breaks at all. But of course, for a more productive employee, you’ll want to give them a lunch and rest break to recharge and refuel. A hungry and tired employee isn’t good for anyone!

Paid Time Off

There are no laws in Florida that require employers to provide employees with any vacation benefits, either paid or unpaid. It is up to the employer to decide on the vacation leave policy for employees.  

It’s worth taking the time to set up and think carefully about your PTO policy. A good PTO policy will be great for your company culture and employee appreciation. 

Firing Employees

Florida is an at-will state, which means that you can fire or demote employees for any reason, or no reason at all. 

However, you may not terminate employees for any reason that can be considered discriminatory. This means that termination due to gender, age, race, pregnancy, national origin, disability or religion is illegal in Florida. If an employee can prove discrimination due to any of these factors, they can file a lawsuit.

Also, you may not fire an employee for reporting or objecting to sexual harassment or discrimination, making a worker’s compensation claim, or for taking leave due to sickness, bereavement, disability or getting pregnant. 

Federal Workers Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN Act) – If you plan on laying 50 or more employees at one location, you must give a 60 day notice. This rule also applies if you plan to lay off more than ⅓ of your full-time workforce. 

Unless your employees were fired for malicious conduct, they get unemployment benefits. These come after termination from reemployment taxes paid by the employer. 

*If you would like additional information on this topic or have HR / Payroll questions, please contact us info@sullivangrouphr.com

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